Making a Difference: Michelle Rauch
KET's Professional Development
I’m still trying to advance my skills—and the technology changes every day. As an educator I need to stay educated about the ever-changing skillset you need for technology.
Michelle Rauch – teacher at Eastside Technical Center, Lexington
When Michelle Rauch was first starting her career, she produced, shot, and appeared in her own stories. She was, as it’s called in television, a “one-man band.”
From Texas, her home state, to Arkansas, and finally to Kentucky, she moved up through the ranks of television journalism, anchoring the noon newscast for Lexington’s WTVQ-TV, where she also covered crime and courts and education.
She now brings all that experience to her multimedia classroom at Eastside Technical Center in the Fayette County schools.
“Teaching what I know—words can’t describe it,” says the smiling, friendly instructor who’s obviously a favorite with the students. They not only share their schoolwork, but their hopes and dreams as well.
“It’s so exciting, and to see kids turn in these neat stories, when they get it, I practically cry like a proud mother. I think I was meant to be here—because it feels right.”
She’s now in her second year at Eastside, teaching subjects such as reporting and anchoring, videography, editing, news production, podcasting, and storytelling through digital photography. When she took the job initially as a long-term substitute, Rauch quickly turned to KET as an instructional resource for help with transferring her knowledge of the subject matter into a dynamic curriculum.
“I was blown away by the resources I found KET has just for teachers,” she said. One resource that was immediately helpful was the KET School Video Project, where students are encouraged to share their work on KET’s website, where others can view, critique, and even learn from one each other’s work. (You can watch student videos at svp.ket.org.)
“These challenges are perfect, because in tech ed, as well as traditional ed, we provide opportunities for project-based learning where you make things relevant to the real world,” she said.
“KET is a tremendous help in my class,” she continued. “During the election the students were challenged to produce mock debates, which we used as an opportunity to collaborate with our homeland-security kids,” she said, referring to Eastside’s courses in police, fire, and emergency medical treatment. The students scrupulously prepared for the debate with background material on both Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s positions, then produced the debate as a live television event.
Now that she’s out of television, she finds the need to continue adding to her technical skills to keep pace with the latest technology.
I don’t have all these skills. I have my reporting background,” she said, “but I’m still trying to advance my skills—and the technology changes every day. As an educator I need to stay educated about the ever-changing skillset you need for technology.”
At KET’s summer Multimedia Professional Development conference last year, Rauch dipped her toe into social media, taking training on how to use Twitter in an educational setting. She learned that even though the social media tool was initially confusing to her, it has applications in education.
Today’s technical schools, Rauch said, focus on getting kids ready for both college and careers, many of which require multimedia knowledge. No longer strictly focused on traditional radio and television careers, Rauch’s students learn the skills they can use in careers as diverse as a small-business owner who wants to develop a webcast to a real-estate agent interested in marketing online via YouTube.
In order to be the most effective teacher she can be, Rauch says that it’s imperative she remains current in all areas of multimedia technology. In particular, she appreciates KET’s AT&T Media Lab, where she has taken advantage of training in digital video editing.
“And thank goodness KET has that,” she says, adding, “and at an affordable rate—free!”